Simulating crossword lottery tickets

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Southern New Hampshire University
This project studies the process the New Hampshire State Lottery must go through when creating a particular type of crossword scratch ticket. For this scratch ticket, the player uncovers a letter bank, and scratches the letters which appear in the letter bank from the crossword. Prizes are awarded depending upon the number of words in the crossword which are completely scratched away. This project creates two functions using MATLAB. The first function has a crossword configuration and a prize amount as inputs, and generates a specific letter bank corresponding to a desired prize amount. A second function allows a user to input the crossword and a letter bank from a lottery ticket to check the amount of prize money that should be awarded. Further, an analysis is performed which calculates the probabilities of winning particular prize amounts with randomly chosen letter banks. This analysis concludes that the State Lottery is not assigning the letter banks randomly, and thus analyzing the crossword before the letter bank is revealed does not allow the player to gain an advantage. (Author abstract)